UFC 200: Can Anderson Silva Take Down Daniel Cormier in Return?
UFC 200 was handed a shocker on Wednesday night, when news broke that Jon Jones would be removed from the fight card due to illegal doping allegations. Jones has denied knowingly cheating, but has officially been removed from UFC 200 until he and the UFC can clear up the issue.
Spider to the Rescue
The exit of Jon Jones has made this event about Brock Lesnar’s return, but there is one other return MMA fans will have to prepare for on Saturday night: the return of The Spider.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) July 8, 2016
Per reports, Daniel Cormier indeed has a fight still for July 9th, as MMA superstar Anderson Silva has agreed to take the place of Jon Jones on short notice.
Two things deflate this otherwise insane swap: Silva isn’t quite the same fighter he used to be at 41 years old and there won’t be a title on the line.
That doesn’t kill this fight, though, as the UFC did a majestic job of keeping Cormier (17-1) on the card, while also replacing Jon Jones with a viable (and truly historic) fighter.
The actual results of the fight shouldn’t be a huge surprise, though. Silva is fighting on short notice, he’s four years older than Cormier and he’s really deteriorated as a fighter over the last several years.
Silva has dealt with some tough losses, some injuries, age and some infamous doping scandals of his own.
Still, Silva was once viewed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, at one time 17 straight victories. He still boasts an elite 33-7 career MMA record, too, even though he’s fallen apart lately.
Then again, it’s tough to come down on Silva too hard, considering who he’s been fighting and losing against. His last fight was back in February, where he lost to the ferocious Michael Bisping, he had a no contest match with the tenacious Nick Diaz and his only other losses since 2006 came to former champion, Chris Weidman.
It’s true that Silva has lost a step or two, but it’s come against elite competition while he’s been aging and slowly been in decline.
On the other side, we have a seemingly unbeatable Cormier, who has lost just one UFC fight (to Jon Jones), but has never faced the wrath of the long and athletic Silva.
Cormier has the size advantage in this fight and should be able to dictate where the fight goes with his strength. He has the power and physicality to get Silva to the ground, and from there the fight would be over.
Silva is a fantastic stand-up fighter and he knows how to use his limbs, both in control and for submission. If this is a striking game, Cormier could actually have his hands full here.
Silva hasn’t won a fight officially in over four years and this is super short notice, but technically speaking he does have a chance in this fight.
Silva vs. Cormier Odds
Obviously due to everything already stated, Anderson Silva is a huge underdog as he heads into UFC 200. That might not have been the case if he’d known he’d be part of this event for months, but two days away, he decided to jump in.
From a technical and experience perspective, Silva can absolutely win and perhaps even dominate this fight. The Spider will be none too pleased that he opens a fight as the underdog for the first time in his entire UFC career and the fact that these two fights have never faced can’t hurt his chances.
That being said, Cormier was training hard for Jon Jones and he gets what appears to be an inferior opponent. On paper, he should win this and Vegas knows it, handing Cormier -565 odds to win the fight, with Silva settling in with +375 odds.
If there is one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that the UFC is all about upsets. A lot of the elite fighters have serious flaws to their game, or the level of competition is so insane that the separation between a lot of the fighters is extremely razor thin.
This one isn’t about how guys match up, though. The reality here is that Cormier thought he was getting Jon Jones and now he gets a matchup with a guy who was as deadly as it gets in the cage for about a decade.
Silva isn’t the guy he once was and he’s coming in ill prepared, but something about this fight has us thinking he’s got one last gasp. If he can show up and shock us with a big win here, he could vault himself back into that elite grouping and earn himself a title shot in the near future. It’d be good for the UFC and it’d certainly be good for your pocket if you bet on him.
Cormier is the safe play, to be sure, but we like Silva’s potential payout, his history and the random weirdness of an upset that comes with this short-notice bout. We’re taking Silva and we’re not looking back.
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